Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Super-Randonneur: Irene Takahashi

Someone asked John Lee what it's like to ramp up to a Super Randonneur series for a first time, so this is my story (photo from PCH 600k courtesy of Catherine Shenk):

I'd been riding sporadically as a recreational rider for 30 years. Riding in the spring and summer so I could do the occasional century with the goal of "just finishing". I had ridden the Triple ByPass 2-3 times and done a couple of weeklong bicycle tours before my first brevet.

In April of 2008, I decided to try a 200K brevet and, so, joined the RMCC on the Kersey Kick. Later in the summer I decided to try a 300K brevet...then I was hooked. It felt like such an accomplishment to ride 186 miles in one shot.

This year, I was recovering from a January hip resurfacing (new hip) surgery and really wanted to get back on the bike ASAP. I had no intention of trying to get Super Rando status until trying and completing a 400K in July. I realized that the SR was doable, so I rode the 300K in August and was lucky enough to be invited to ride a California 600K in October. Four weeks before the 600K I started working with a personal coach to try and get stronger and a bit faster so I wouldn't be a huge anchor for my 600K partner, and to be able to finish within the 40 hr time limit.

Having a good bike fit and comfortable saddle are a MUST, along with adequate lighting for nite riding and reflective gear, so as not to become road kill. Doing a test night ride (I joined a friend for the 2nd half of a 400K) was very helpful to gain confidence and see how the equipment performed...i.e. how long will the batteries last, how easy to change out the batteries.

Nutrition on the 600K was interesting. At the advice of Catherine, my partner on this ride, I learned to eat convenience store food quickly (at least relative to what I'd been doing) and head out. We ate sandwiches, burritos, occasional ice cream bars, energy drinks (double shot espressos, redbulls, odwalla smoothies, gatorade), lots o water, some cookies and candy bars.....real food with protein and carbs. It was important to EAT at EVERY control to keep fuelled up for the next section.

When you eat quickly at the controls and head out, you're trying to bank time for the overnite stop. So, on the 600K, we were able to sleep for about 4 hours before heading out for the final day. Had I been a faster rider, we could have had more sleep time.

Great sense of achievement with the completion of the 600K and getting my SR status. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my forward motion, especially Catherine Shenk and John Lee Ellis.

- Irene

No comments:

Post a Comment